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Research in Psychology
Chapter Two

Central High School AP Psychology

Thinking Critically About Psychology
1. What am I being asked to believe or accept? 2. What evidence is available to support the assertion? 3. Are there alternative ways of interpreting the evidence? 4. What additional evidence would help to evaluate the alternatives? 5. What conclusions are most reasonable?

Reliability and Validity
Evidence addressing a hypothesis should be judged in terms of reliability and validity.

Theories
• A theory is an integrated set of statements designed to account for and predict ways of controlling certain phenomena. • They are tentative explanations that must be subjected to scientific evaluation. • They are constantly being formulated, evaluated, reformulated, and sometimes abandoned based on research results.

Goals of Psychological Research

• • • •

To describe the phenomenon To make accurate predictions To demonstrate some control over the variables To explain the phenomenon with confidence

Research Methods in Psychology

Naturalistic Observation
• Feature: The process of watching without interfering as behavior occurs in the natural environment • Strengths: Provides descriptive data about behavior presumably uncontaminated by outside influences. • Pitfalls: Observer bias and participant selfconsciousness can distort results

Case Studies
• Feature: Intensive examination of the behavior and mental processes associated with a specific person, group or situation. • Strengths: Provide detailed descriptive analysis of new, complex, or rare phenomenon. • Pitfalls: May not provide representative picture of phenomena.

Surveys
• Feature: Standard set of questions asked of a large number of participants – asks people about their behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and opinions • Strengths: Gather large amounts of descriptive data relatively quickly and inexpensively. • Pitfalls: Sampling errors, poorly phrased questions, and...
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